Doing things differently – the new age mantra for success?

Be bold,stand out,be the change you want to see,do the new,think/ do differently – these and many more such slogans keep bombarding us all the time these days. While the exhortations by themselves are not harmful,the manner in which such ideas are being thrown around and practiced quite casually without regard to individual needs certainly does affect the gullible. The message seems to be that either we do something differently or be damned. It is amazing how strongly this has conditioned people across all professions. Arts,music,life-style and even the way business is carried out – all are influenced and bitten by this bug!
Haven’t we seen even traditional classical musicians feeling compelled to pursue this with zeal as they try to present music in a ‘new and different way’? The idea seems to be to sound very different at all costs which includes musical melody. (The so called ‘Fusion Music’ which is gaining currency is one such typical example).
The present day consumerism is yet another case in point. It has created a mad race among the middle class with the urge to keep buying unwanted electronic gadgets just because they are new and different,thanks mainly to aggressive marketeers.
Even spirituality has become a victim to this trend. One only has to look around and see the mushrooming Swamijis who promise heavens with least effort on the part of the gullible devotee.
Our good old traditional Yoga has also suffered from this disease to be innovative and different. I, for one, am highly skeptical about the benefits of the highly popular ‘Power Yoga’ which is being promoted aggressively in the west. Apparently,this combines strength with flexibility. Yoga is traditionally a technique of differential relaxation in the sense that one relaxes all the muscles except the ones involved in a certain pose. One improves flexibility and strength of all parts of the body steadily and sequentially with different poses. However, ‘Power yoga’ has nothing to do with traditional yoga as it does not allow any relaxation.
In the field of business too,I have personally seen business houses collapsing even as some fanatic individuals try to change the DNA of companies by forcibly throwing out both good and bad systems in the name of Business process Re-engineering.

The present emphasis of ‘new and different’ is not such a bad idea after all. At the same time it is not a new concept either. Such concepts originated at the beginning of industrial revolution itself with the introduction of “patentable” inventions. It is worth recalling the definition of a patentable invention. It is an invention which has 3 important attributes: Newness or novelty,non-obviousness and thirdly and most importantly usefulness. It is the third attribute which has to drive all inventions. If this is missing,then,merely pursuing something just because it is new or different loses its meaning and significance. It is this indiscriminate and excessive emphasis on anything ‘new and different’ with no regard to the end result or objective,that has led to tremendous frustration. As a consequence,these days people find new and creative ways of becoming unhappy!

JK’s (Jiddu Krishnamoorthy)philosophy comes in handy in this context. One of his famous quotable quotes is – “Truth is a pathless land”. As a logical extension of this profound statement,shall we also add that “Happiness (or success)in life is a pathless land too”. JK elaborates saying that every one of us has to find our own answers without seeking help from some ‘enlightened’ gurus. He denounces and condemns the emergence of self-styled gurus who pretend to spoon- feed gullible devotees with all answers to their problems of unhappiness.
Every situation and every problem,according to JK,is unique with its own challenges and therefore the solutions are also unique. There is nothing like a well chartered path which is available for ready reference and guidance. At the same time,the overemphasis on a path just because it is different or new is also not a solution. A creative and open mind free from all thoughts and conditioning alone is capable of intelligent action.


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